WASHINGTON — Officials representing various American Muslim organizations, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), say they were turned away from Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]’s office Monday.
Cruz, who spoke in favor of law enforcement patrolling Muslim majority neighborhoods last month, was criticized by CAIR for his stance as well as recent hires to the Cruz campaign foreign policy team.
“It is good law enforcement to focus on where threats are emanating from, and anywhere where there is a locust of radicalization, where there is an expending presence of radical Islamic terrorism, we need law enforcement resources directed there, national security resources directed there,” said the Texas senator on the campaign trail.
Mazen Mokhtar, executive director of the Muslim American Society, said in a Facebook video outside of Cruz’s office Monday that their delegation of Muslim organizations have been ignored by the Texas senator’s staff.
“We have come here all around the country to meet our representatives and here’s our Texas delegation. We have, for weeks, been trying to set up an appointment with the office of Sen. Ted Cruz. After a while they stopped responding. So we decided to show up and see if anyone would talk to us,” he said. “So, there was nobody here to meet us today. Needless to say, we are disappointed and we will continue to try to meet our representative, because our voice needs to be heard.”
Mokhtar, an Egyptian-born imam, was behind a website, identified in a 2004 affidavit by the Connecticut U.S. attorney’s office, that solicited funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujahaddin, The Washington Post reported at the time.
The Chicago Tribune reported one month later that the site was formed by Muslim Brotherhood members, when the Brothers decided to be more public about their activism.
“It’s important to mention that all of our representatives have attempted to meet with us. There have been scheduling conflicts. This is the only office that outright declined to meet with us, which is indicative of his behavior in the media as well,” said CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth representative Alia Salem in the video.
The Dallas Morning News reports Salem said that Cruz’s staff initially proposed to set up a meeting with a Middle East foreign policy adviser, but she refused that meeting because, the group, as Muslim-Americans, wanted to talk about topics affecting Americans, including fair credit policies and food desert issues in Texas. Salem reportedly asked to speak with another staffer, but the meeting did not happen.
CAIR remains a controversial organization. The FBI cut ties in 2009 with the group after it was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial.
FBI Agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR was a front for Hamas, The Dallas Morning News reported in 2008. The trial ended with guilty verdicts on all charges against HLF and five of its officers, including a 65 year sentence against Ghassan Elashi, the founder of CAIR’s Dallas chapter.
“It makes perfect sense that Senator Cruz would not want to legitimize a terror-tied group like CAIR-Dallas or extremists like Mazen Mokhtar,” Patrick Poole, counter-terrorism analyst with Unconstrained Analytics, told The Daily Caller in an e-mail statement.
“With many people concerned about stigmatizing the Muslim community, giving fringe extremist groups like this a visible platform to falsely claim representation of all American Muslims is the last thing that should be done,” Poole wrote.
Not all Muslims say Cruz did not met with them. Abdirahman Yusuf Warsame, a Somali American living in Northern Virginia told The Daily Caller that Cruz “is the most accessible in our Muslim community. We understand the problems we face in our community–Islamic extremism, al Shabaab.” According to Warsame, former Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed visited Washington.
“He was pushed out by Muslim Brotherhood with the help of the left-wing State Department. He has has a family here.” Warsame says that the former prime minister wanted to meet with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and give briefings to the lawmakers before he went back to his country.
— Abdirahman y warsame (@TerrorFreeSomal) April 19, 2016
“He asked me to schedule a meeting. I made some phone calls to Senators and Congressmen. The only person who came back to me with short notice was Senator Ted Cruz,” said Warsame, noting the meeting was successful and Ahmed covered topics ranging from al Shabaab to counter-terrorism to Somali pirates to Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison. Warsame says he attempted to reach out to other Democratic Senators and Congressman for Ahmed to meet but says, “They refused to meet him.”
Neither CAIR’s national office nor Cruz’s campaign responded to TheDC for comment.